Recycling Nearest You – Get There!

By Vernon Trollinger, May 29, 2015, Energy Efficiency, Green

Where the Sam Hill do I recycle all this stuff?

Where the Sam Hill do I recycle all this stuff?

Recycling is a must! It keeps waste out of the landfills, it replaces the need for raw materials for manufacturers (which lowers industrial pollution), helps keep air and water clean, and creates jobs.

Naturally, it can get a little complicated since doing it right all depends on what you want to recycle and where you live. For example, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas, all have passed mandatory electronics recycling, but programs all vary with state law. Online resources can be frustrating with some states providing lots of colorful encouragement, but little information in the way of “Where the Sam Hill do I recycle all this stuff?”

New York & Pennsylvania

Both states’ environmental laws typically require counties to facilitate waste management programs —including recycyling. New York and Pennsylvania mandate that counties and municipalities insitute recycling programs. Most counties and city-sized recycling programs fall under various headings, such as solid waste, sanitation, environmental, or even recycling.

In New York State, you can look up your county or municipality’s website. One quick route to that is through New York State’s Local Recycling Coordinator & DEC Recycling Contacts page. It contains contact info to recycling programs in the 9 regions of New York State, including New York city. Links lead to county and local municipality pages that show resources about how to recycle specific materials.

You can also go through this list of New York counties and municipalities (listed after counties) to learn what can be recycled in your area.

In New York City, regulations can be a little more stringent for residents and business. Businesses are required by law to separate recyclable materials and this can effect apartment tennants, too.

In Pennsylvania, each county must manage its own wastes and assure a minimum of ten years disposal capacity. Currently, Pennsylvania has over 1,900 municipalities with access to recycling programs, including curbside and drop-off programs. The state website lists county government and city government websites where you can find information on local recycling.

The State of Texas, meanwhile, does not empower counties on the same level as New York and Pennsylvania. Instead, municipal or solid waste management falls to individual municipalities. Proceeds from landfill tipping fees are used to fund recycling programs throughout the state, including the Regional Solid Waste Grants Program. In Texas, 6.1 million tons of material from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) sources was recycled in 2013. Of that 554,598 tons came from curbside recycling programs in Texas towns from at least 900,000 households. Yet, while a lot of cities and town in Texas are recycling, you still need to look around to find out where to take stuff.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) provides good general information recycling information. To find out recycling reources in your town, check out this list of websites for Texas municipalities to find out if your town has a recycling program.

To learn even more about recycling in Texas and get involved, join the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR), an alliance seeking to increase recycling rates in Texas.

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